Opportunity, Equality, Independence
PO Box 834
Twisp, WA 98856
WCB’s Newsline is a 2011 winner of the Hollis K. Liggett Braille Free Press Award presented by the Board of Publications of the American Council of the Blind promoting best journalistic practices and excellence in writing in publications of ACB’s state and special interest affiliates.
Steve Fiksdal, President
Federal Way, WA
Meka White, Editor
Federal Way, WA
Those much-needed contributions, which are TAX deductible, can be sent to the Washington Council of the Blind Treasurer, Deb Lewis, at PO Box 834, Twisp, WA 98856.
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The WCB is a 501(c)(3) organization. For other ways to support the Washington Council of the Blind, visit our fundraising page found at www.wcbinfo.org
Table of Contents
Editorial: In Our View Response
Still I Rise
FBC Needs Your Help
Monsters Meet at the Marriott Hotel in May
Introducing the Wenatchee Valley Council of the Blind
Onward and Upward, the WCB Leadership Seminar
Full Steam Ahead
Let 2016 Be Your First Time
High School Hate
Come See What the Beep is Going On
Thirty Years of Service to Blind and Visually Impaired Children Celebrated
Popcorn in the Front Row
It’s All About the Timing
How Will You Pay?
Bits and Pieces
Around the State
From Our Kitchen to Yours
Calendar of Deadlines and Events
By Steve Fiksdal, President
It has been a busy 2016 thus far. Your board and committees have been involved in a number of activities. I will let them speak for themselves throughout this edition of the Newsline.
In addition to all the great things WCB does on your behalf, we have some new activities that I am pleased to announce.
One is the launch of the WCB Leadership Institute. For many years WCB has conducted a Leadership Seminar where 16 or so members are selected to participate in a two and a half day program designed to introduce them to leadership roles in WCB and our affiliates. To take this a step further, the Leadership Institute will be a year-long immersion into the core principles of leadership and we can apply these skills to our daily lives. Again, 16 or so WCB members will be selected in a competitive process to enroll in the Leadership Institute. Participants will be required to read selected books, participate in monthly calls and engage in a leadership activity. We are only as strong as those who follow us.
Following this same theme, we need to be taking a hard look at where we want our organization to be in the coming years. To accomplish this I am forming a taskforce called WCB 2018 and Beyond. We have an organization that is great now, however in order to sustain that greatness we need to continually grow. Otherwise we become stale. I realize that change is hard for some, but after we’ve gone through the process we can look back at what we created and say “that wasn’t so hard and look at what we have now”. I should point out that when I am with other national leaders it is very apparent that WCB is a highly respected affiliate. We’ve come a long ways in just 26 years. Now is not the time to rest on our laurels. We have much to do and many to serve.
On a lighter front, we will be looking at the feasibility of sponsoring a Washington State Beep Baseball Tournament next year. We currently have three active teams, with two more looking at taking to the field. Crowning a state champion would bring excellent exposure to WCB and our blind athletes. In addition, we could use this stage to promote all that we do as an organization and as individuals.
Speaking of change, our membership is growing. At the Spring Board meeting we welcomed a new affiliate to the WCB family, the Wenatchee Valley Council of the Blind (WVCB). Welcome WVCB.
Circling back to the work our committees are doing, I would like to highlight that the Advocacy Committee has been researching the availability of audio described prescription labels. While a number of national chains offer such labels, many local pharmacies do not. A complete list of those pharmacies that offer audio described labels can be found on our website under the Resources tab.
Several national chain pharmacies are offering audio prescription labels, they include CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart. If your pharmacy is one of the national chains on this list and is not making audio described labels available to you, be persistent. If your pharmacy is not on the list let us know who they are. The Advocacy Committee continues to work on this vital need. This is not an exhaustive list. Also, please let us know if your pharmacy is offering audio labels so that we can add it to the list.
You may have heard that this is an election year. A year like no other. Please be sure to participate in the process. Regardless of what candidate you support, what party you align with, participate and vote. There are many issues before Congress that affect the blind. And likewise there will be issues that confront us locally. We must all participate and vote. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But please be sure to vote.
And lastly, the next Board of Director’s meeting will be on August 20th at the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (2021 9th Ave, Seattle). The meeting will begin at 10:00am and conclude around 3:00pm. Join us, this is always a very well attended meeting.
This editorial is in response to an article in the Vancouver Columbian. The WCB board put together this letter originally, but due to word count constraints, had to submit a shorter piece instead. You can find the published editorial response by going to http://www.columbian.com/news/2016/may/27/letter-specialized-teaching-succeeds/.
It was quite puzzling to read an op-ed on May 16th that was so positive in its praise of the Washington State School for the Blind, only to then suggest that the residential school may have seen its day. This couldn’t be further from the truth as we hope to show.
Over the years, specialized schools for the blind and deaf have provided a learning experience that is unequaled in any public school. These schools, as the author suggests, help students reach their potential rather than focusing on the things that set them apart. We believe that public schools are generally not prepared financially or with technical skills to fully address sensory disabilities. And with the emphasis on the core curriculum, public school teachers are not adequately prepared to devote the time and instructional expertise needed by students with vision impairments to learn the unique skills such as braille, long cane travel, and the use of technology.
Specialized teachers, known as “Teachers of the Visually Impaired” (TVI) who teach these unique skills in public school settings are hard to come by and often must travel throughout many districts to provide the specialized educational services that students who are blind need and are entitled to. These teachers find themselves spending more time in travel rather than teaching blind students.
The author(s) note that more public schools these days are providing adequate services for blind students. We question what adequate is. And we wonder if any parents want to settle for “adequate” when it comes to the education of their children. “The ultimate goal must be to provide the best possible education for students, but in seeking that goal the notion of state-run boarding schools just might be outdated”, writes the author. First, the School for the Blind is not a boarding school. It is a residential setting which students can utilize as needed — typically during only a few years of their
K-12 education. In addition to a fully adapted curriculum including science and upper level math courses, students develop invaluable life skills for social interaction and for home and personal management.
“The services provided [by the School for the Blind] are essential, but the question should be whether those services could be better provided — and that money more efficiently spent — by local school districts.” For this to occur scores of TVI’s would need to be hired, if they could be found. Specialized technology and the resources to duplicate efforts across districts would be insurmountable in cost.
Centralized residential schools for students with sensory disabilities are essential as we work together to provide these young people with an education that prepares them to be productive, confident citizens. The Washington State School for the Blind has provided specialized education for blind students for over 130 years. The school continues to innovate in educating students throughout the Northwest. It does not live in the past, but offers an educational opportunity that is trend setting and current.
The Washington Council of the Blind, a consumer organization, with many members who are graduates of the School for the Blind, promotes opportunity, equality, and independence for the state’s blind citizens.
Poem written by Elora Hancock, age 11
(Elora is a 6th grade student currently attending the Washington State School for the Blind.)
Can you see colors?
Can you see the words on a page?
These are the questions I hear every day
I want to answer, but I can’t find the words
Still I Rise
I know I don’t have to be the same as everyone else
But I still feel as if I have to hide
Have to lie
Still I rise
Someone once told me
I would never be able to see
So I would never be able to do anything
Still I rise
That isn’t true
This is not holding me back
I can do anything
Even if they don’t see it, I do
Still I rise
Can you see a sunset?
Can you see the little bird flying?
Oh honey, it flew by I’m so sorry
But look, there’s another
Still I rise
“I saw it!” I exclaim
She begins to cry because she really thinks I did
I feel terrible
Still I rise
Why do I have to hide?
I don’t mind it this way
But everyone else does
I know I’m special
Still I rise
People ask me
How can they help me?
I feel a pang
They mean no harm, but I feel sad
I can do anything
Still I rise
They send me to a school
I don’t have to hide ever again
At least not while I’m at school
With my friends
Still I rise
I never have to hide there
Who I am
How I feel
I can feel OK about being me
Still I rise
My friends and I
We don’t talk about our vision
We don’t need to
That’s not how we measure who we are
It’s a part of us
But not all of us
Still I rise
Someday I will grow the rest of the way up
I will do anything I set my mind to
I will do anything people with full sight have
But I do have full sight
I see the world differently
Still I rise
No one can stop me
Still I rise
By Lori Allison, Chair Families with Blind Children Committee
The Washington Council of the Blind has a committee called “Family’s with Blind Children.” This committee is dedicated to addressing issues that are specific to children who are blind and addresses associated concerns of family members. The blind children are the future of the world and thus it is never too late to help with building their confidence and self-esteem.
Blind youth and their families have many concerns on where to turn for assistance in dealing with today’s ever-changing technologies, how to meet the needs of their students at all levels of schooling, how they can deal with the cost of the equipment needed to complete their education, and so much more. WCB can be of help by encouraging braille literacy, providing resources, supporting employment opportunities (often through other programs) and most importantly, preparing ourselves to be available to live our mission of “OPPORTUNITY, EQUALITY, and INDEPENDENCE” as we find innovative ways to reach out to these families!
Due to the mandate imposed by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity ACT (WIOA) the Department of Services for the Blind must allocate 15% of their budget for transition age youth. This creates an opportunity for WCB to become more active in the delivery of services to blind children and their families, but we will need the input and investment of time from many of our members to make this happen.
This year the FBC committee partnered with the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library (WTBBL) in hosting the “2016 Braille Challenge.” This is an event that we sponsor annually. In June, the FBC committee will once again supply pizza and lunch bags for the participants of the Youth Employment Solutions II (YES) program sponsored by the Department of Services for the Blind for high school students. Currently the FBC committee is in the planning stages of hosting the 2016 Student Summit to take place November 4th during the WCB Convention.
The Family’s With Blind Children committee is proud to support programs and activities that will benefit young people who are blind and their families. However, we need more willing workers to assist us on our mission! If you are interested in participating with this committee please contact Steve Fiksdal at 206-669-8001 or and become part of a committee making a positive impact on the future of children of all ages who are blind and their families.
By Frank Cuta
The WCB Spring Board meeting was held May 16, 2016 in a dark dank cave deep underneath the Seattle Airport Marriott Hotel. The meeting was called to order by Steve, a solemn purple headed cookie monster with a red top knot. Frank, a fat blue troll called the role and all board monsters were present and voting. All chapters and affiliates were also represented.
Debby, a little green dragon gave the Treasurer’s Report and announced that she now has the ability to accept payment and donations via credit card. She reports that so far this year we are over budget for board meeting expenses. (Perhaps the board should eat more fair maidens and less of the Marriott’s fine cuisine.)
The purple monster belched a little fire and announced in his President’s Report a new program, the WCB Leadership Institute. This will be an intensive year-long development experience for those who are accepted. It will involve a serious amount of reading, monthly discussions and a commitment to take on specific responsibilities.
He also reported on bills currently working their way through congress and noted that our web accessibility legislation is not moving at all. Since our last meeting Steve has visited 12 institutions and organizations around the state in an effort to strengthen relationships and exchange cookie recipes. He encouraged all members to get out and interact with others in the community face to face. Good news is that negotiations are in the works to add three more local affiliates to our organization.
Steve also reported that two members from our menagerie, our little green dragon and a polka-dotted siren named Meka had the honor of being selected by the American Council of the Blind to be leadership fellow first timers to the national convention in Minneapolis. Sue, whose parents were obviously very large and covered with orange fur, asked about the progress of reestablishing a WCB grant award committee. Steve reported that this new committee is composed of all dragons. Our little green dragon, a big spotted brute with three eyes named Glenn and a six legged white named Berl.
Sue reported from the Advocacy Committee that we have filed a complaint with Bartell’s and are involved in several other issues supporting people with health care and rent problems. She noted that at the Minneapolis convention they are having a seminar specifically to deal with health care advocacy.
Holly, who resembles a giant bunny rabbit until she opens her mouth, displayed her six inch fangs and reported that the history committee is producing a quiz to stimulate more interest in our past.
Cindy (no one has ever made an accurate count of all of her legs) reported on plans for our state convention November 3-5 at the Marriott. Her mention of the full meal deal created an impressive display of glistening fangs around the table. (It had been quite a while since breakfast.) Some of the convention changes this year include a Woman’s Expo and an increase in exhibitor fees.
Sue shook her orange mane and advised all affiliates to contact their local 211 service and get added to their listing as a resource. Our little green dragon reported that our environmental access committee is tracking and stimulating membership involvement in local groups dealing with voting access, emergency preparedness, transit and aging issues.
Our monster with the uncountable legs reported that our Families with Blind Children Committee will again be providing the first night dinner for the YES program student participants. She also reported that Saturday evening 15 more participants graduated from our Annual Leadership Training. We now have 247 members who have taken this training and we should be following up and engaging them on the local level.
Denise, the only invisible monster, reported that the legislative committee is going to identify local contacts in each affiliate who can assists to identify legislative concerns. The committee will follow-up with training.
Our six legged white dragon brought a proposal to us from the Finance Committee to adopt a more restrictive travel and lodging policy. Since lodging is usually associated with food this drew the predictable hard stare from 12 pair of ravenous eyes who were very concerned who was and was not going to get fed. The tension was relieved by the blue troll who eventually asked that the issue of restricting lodging be postponed until our next meeting.
The blue troll also reported that at the upcoming Library Patron Advisory Council public meeting on June 11 there will be presentations from the two candidates seeking the office of Secretary of State. Mrs. Orange and Furry reported that DSB has developed new student apartments for the OTC that are extremely nice and convenient as well.
The major action taken by the monsters this weekend was to pass a motion accepting the Wenatchee Valley Council of the Blind as the newest affiliate of the WCB and to grant them an initial affiliate stipend.
The monster meeting ended with our purple leader creating two new task forces: one to investigate our sponsorship of a statewide Beep Baseball Championship in 2017 and one to look at where WCB wants to be organizationally in 2018 and beyond.
By Mike Symonds, President
Things that are new are always exciting. Wenatchee Valley Council of the Blind fits both new and exciting. We’re off and running and are looking for good things.
We organized, with the help of Steve Fiksdal, in April, had our first ‘regular’ meeting in May, and the June meeting is virtually upon us. We meet at the office of Lilac Services for the Blind in Wenatchee and follow one of their regular support group meetings, the second Wednesday of every month. In many cases, members of one are members of the other.
Developing our Mission Statement is currently a top priority. When someone asks about our Council chapter, we want to hand them an oversized business card with that statement printed on it. The member’s name and phone number will be on the back of the card.
To our regular July meeting we have invited a gal who has been totally blind for many years. She takes this so in stride that she lives almost a normal life and is an inspiration to all who meet her. She lives about 70 miles up the Valley so she needs to be able to arrange transportation before giving us her final commitment to being here.
Member Rick Barnard, also a long time Lilac volunteer, has been promoting Beep Ball and is now the coach of our soon to be formed Lilac Blind Bats team. We expect to host the Spokane team in exhibition games on two occasions this summer, and intend to field our team in league contention next season. Post 10 of the American Legion has generously given us funds to help make this happen.
Our group has concerns that are common to all of us and also concerns that are unique. We are looking forward to sharing and airing these concerns with the hope of reducing some of the anxieties that we all feel. Being a part of Washington Council of the Blind, and thus a part of their broad advocacy programs, is encouraging. We’re happy to be a part and surely hope we can contribute to our common goals.
Our newly elected core of officers are as follows:
Nathaniel (Mike) Symonds, President;
W. Rae Hail, Vice President;
Joan Symonds, Secretary; and
Ann Elliott, Treasurer.
Our meeting day is the second Wednesday of the month. We meet at the Lilac Services for the Blind store located at 4 Kittitas Street, Suite 203, in Wenatchee, from 1:00 to 2:00 PM.
By Cindy Glidden, graduate, WCB Leadership 2016
I had an amazing experience as a participant of the WCB 2016 Leadership Seminar that took place this May. From the knowledge I gained by spending off hours with other members of WCB’ to the great group challenges and discussions and on to the amazing classes and speakers that put vast hours in preparation for our teachings. Everyone made such an impression on me and in so very many ways.
Steve Fiksdal taught us exactly what makes a good leader. He taught that leaders are not “born leaders”, leaders don’t MANAGE others but they LEAD others so that the end result is a success for all parties involved.
Julie Brannon spoke about personalities and emphasized that every leader will be dealing with folks with personality differences. While trying to lead others you need to recognize their personality traits in order to better understand them and what part they play in the group.
Cindy Van Winkle did an amazing presentation on how to identify your leadership position and to focus on where we each wanted to be within the next year. What an amazing project to try to put yourself in a position to determine where you want to be in a year from now.
My long term goal within our United Blind of Spokane group is to one day become president of our group. I have added several new members to our group as of recently but after the 2016 Leadership Seminar I learned so much about accessing and dealing with different personalities. It was brought to my attention, that as a president, your job is to lead your folks. Keeping in mind that all people come with already established personalities; your job as a leader is to determine what these are and make them work together for the good of the organization. People all have innate personalities that make them who they are. Finding a balance between all personality types and what they have to offer one another makes for a strong group. A strong group makes for an even more successful team and allows us to help one another reach our goals and soar to the sky should that be what we are looking for.
In closing, I feel honored to have been chosen to be part of Leadership 2016 where we focused on moving onward and upward to a successful future in leadership. My goal for 2016 is to continue to grow and change through my involvement in the Membership Committee, WCB Cares, and the Crisis Committee.
By Alco Canfield
The night before my 14-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land, I must admit that I had a moment of second thoughts. I paused as I contemplated being in unfamiliar places with new people, different food, and possibly unforeseen circumstances.
Father Pat Martin, a priest who is blind had been on several pilgrimages with The Pilgrim Center of Hope. I imagined that he had probably “broken them in.” I called Mary Jane Fox, PCH’s co-founder who said, “We take turns guiding Father Pat.” “May I be included?” I asked. “Certainly,” she said. So I signed up to go.
I want to thank Tom and Mary Jane Fox as well as all of those on the pilgrimage who assisted me.
I joined the group in Houston for the 13 1/2-hour flight to Istanbul, followed by another 2-hour flight to Amman, Jordan
Before proceeding, I would like to put in a good word for Turkish Airlines. They are number 1 in Europe, and number 3 in the world. They gave me a very warn braille copy of safety regulations, but at least they had something in braille. They were professional, and not patronizing. They honored my request to walk and didn’t bother me with a wheelchair.
The trip tested almost every adaptive skill I possess: spiral staircases with railings of differing heights or none at all, steps on the streets with parallel ramps which when wet are very slick, different hotels every few days, etc.
We visited a number of holy sites: the Jordan River where Jesus was Baptized, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Cana, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, built over Jesus’ tomb, the Wailing Wall, the Garden of Gethsemane, just to name a few.
One of the highlights of the trip for me was being able to proclaim God’s Word in the church at Mount Tabor. An architect, Antonio Barluzzi built churches on many holy sites after World War I. I understand that the visuals are stunning, but for me, the acoustics in his churches are truly amazing! I have never sung in churches that magnified sound like that.
We took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee and were able to see the fishing nets similar to those used during the time of Jesus.
One of the most important things I learned about on my pilgrimage was the plight of the Palestinian Christians who comprise 2.8% of the population living in the Holy Land. (When I speak of the Holy Land I am including Jordan and the West Bank.)
The Palestinian Christians are mistrusted by the Muslim population because they are Christian, and viewed with suspicion by the Jewish population because they are Arab. Their numbers are diminishing because they are immigrating to countries which provide more opportunities.
On the official website of the visit of Pope Francis in the Holy Land, the Media Commission states that the Holy Land is home to approximately 180,000 Christians who are Palestinian Arab according to their culture and history.
In the Holy Land, 75% of the population is Muslim, 20% is Jewish, and 5% is represented by other religions, 2.8% of this population is Christian.
We visited what some call the Security Fence and others call The Separation Wall which goes right down the main street of Bethlehem. Its construction began in 2002 and when it is completed, the cost will be approximately four billion dollars. Its height is greater than any of the walls of Israeli prisons.
This wall has precluded employment for many living in the West Bank. Dispossessed and faced with barriers to steady employment and access to other opportunities, the population seethes with discontent resulting in a never-ending cycle of action/reaction. All are victims: Israelis who fear rocket attacks and suicide bombings, and Palestinians who chafe under the demoralizing effects of occupation.
An example: we were supposed to attend services with Christians at a church near Bethlehem. We almost didn’t make it because our bus driver was arbitrarily prevented from crossing the check point to pick us up. He had to call a friend in Jerusalem who came to get us in another bus and took us to Bethlehem where we met him. The original driver was able to come back with us to Jerusalem, but he was afraid to go home because he had several bus tours to drive and he was afraid of being prevented from coming to Jerusalem to do so.
Observing our tour guide and bus driver continually having to show their papers to gun-toting checkpoint guards was quite unnerving. We received a small taste of what occupation is like, but these people experience it every day!
Our worship with the Palestinian Christians at the Church of the Annunciation at Beit Shala near Bethlehem was very inspiring, even though the service was in Arabic. The community welcomed us warmly and it was good to pray in solidarity with them.
Obviously, my two-week visit does not make me an authority on the Holy Land and this article does not begin to do justice to the complexities of the situation there. All I can share with you is what I observed. However, I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to walk where Jesus walked and to meet so many generous, warm-hearted Palestinian Christians as well as the people who went on this pilgrimage; with me. I never felt unsafe.
Tom and Mary Jane Fox from the Pilgrim Center of Hope will be traveling to the Holy Land again in July. This will be their 48th pilgrimage. Information about it can be found on their website: www.pilgrimcenterofhope.org.
Please pray for peace in the land so many call Holy!
By Holly Turri, member, Convention Committee
The Washington Council of the Blind state convention is coming!!! Join us and travel with old friends and meet new ones for a journey of a lifetime.
Our trip begins November 3rd with the pre-convention board meeting and ends after the banquet on the 5th. The beginning station is the Seattle Airport Marriott hotel. Our final destination is wherever our interests and imagination will take us.
We can train our focus on everything from technology, to advocacy or recreation to cooking. And a special guest is sure to inspire us with her keynote address!
On Friday afternoon a new path has been mapped. A mini Women’s Expo is being designed just for the ladies with everything from health and wellness to fashion consultations.
Exhibits will be open this year from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and is sure to broaden our horizons. Learning about new gadgets and tech items is sure to please any visitor to this post.
And of course what would convention be like without our Friday night Showcase of Talent, impressive scholarship reception, and fun-filled hospitality room? All of this and much more awaits you at this year’s annual WCB convention, often thought of as a big family reunion.
Room rates remain $99.00 per night for a room in this beautiful premier hotel. And once again, the full package which includes registration and up to five meals (including the banquet, is just $95.00. What a deal!
Members having never attended previously the WCB convention as a registered conventioneer and who meet the six month membership requirement should consider applying for the first timer scholarship which covers room (based on double occupancy) and the full registration package. Letters expressing your interest, activity in the organization, and anything else you’d like to share with the committee to encourage them to select you, should be sent to Danette Dixon at by August 31, 2016.
And because we know that convention can be a hardship for some, once again, WCB is offering two free rooms to qualifying members who call in on Monday September 12 between 9:00 AM and noon to 800-255-1147 and speak directly with our receptionist. Try to call in early, as priority is given to those never utilizing this before and are offered on a first call basis. If space remains, a drawing will be held for the remaining space. So don’t be shy!
Transportation stipends are available for those outside of King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Thurston counties. Those members meeting the six month membership requirement living west of the mountains may receive $20.00 and those east of the cascades $75.00. Watch for the bulletin on how to request this stipend and all of the other important details.
The bulletin and registration form will be live on our website www.wcbinfo.org and via phone at 800-255-1147 on or soon after August 20th, and watch for emails and an article in the next Newsline for more information.
All aboard!!!!! The train leaves November 3rd. grab a seat quickly!!!
By Danette Dixon, Chair, First Timer Committee
Drum roll please! The First Timer Committee worked together to make our selection for the person attending the American Council of the Blind Conference and Convention. Thank you to all those who sent in an application. We had seven people apply, so we had to make a tough decision. Congratulations to Gena Ontiveros, President of the Yakima Valley Council of the Blind. We look forward to learning about her experiences in the next issue of Newsline.
Now we are looking for letters of application for first timers to attend the Washington Council of the Blind state convention to be held November 3-5 at the Seattle Airport Marriott in Seatac. This is an excellent opportunity for you to find out more about WCB’s programs, see exhibits of high and low tech, listen to educational and informative presentations, make new friends from all over the state, and take your involvement to the next level. For more information about the convention itself, see the article from the hard-working convention committee in this issue of Newsline.
In order to be eligible to apply for the First Timers award for state convention, you must have been a member of WCB since May 3rd 2016, and can never have attended the convention as a member. If you attended before joining WCB, you are still in the running!
To apply, please email a letter to and include your contact information, why you would like to attend the convention, and what you are doing in your local chapter or WCB. Don’t be afraid to toot your horn! The application is due by August 31st at 11:59 pm
What an amazing time I have had chairing this committee. I would like to thank my committee and to each of you who submit a letter and make us do our job.
Thanks so much for making WCB the success that it is. Best of luck to you
By Holly Turri
In the Spring Newsline a heart wrenching article, Eyes Wide Open by Courtney Cole was featured. Man oh man could I relate! As with many thoughtfully written pieces, it made me think and reopened a quest. Since my graduation in 1975 I have wondered “why, like me, do most blind folks hate those four years which we are told are supposed to be some of the best in life?” What I learned is surprising and illuminating.
The information I am relating comes from a 41 year informal survey. Probably I have asked around 100 people “did you like high school? Those I questioned were blind, disabled from other causes, and sighted. Many strata of life were represented. Amazingly, 75% of my responses ranged from “I was so glad to get out.” to “I hated every minute!!”
The negative responses from blind people who attended public school were not surprising. Sighted individuals reactions have been shocking. Where are all these happy folks who attend their high school reunions and joyfully reunite with long lost friends? Apparently it’s another media fiction.
Instead of dwelling on the negative, I want to suggest for those who have kids, strategies they can try to lessen the angst of high school. These are traits I noted from the minority of people who found those four years tolerable or enjoyable. Wish I’d been taught them waaaaay back when.
People who brought a friendship group with them from middle to high school benefited from the support of peers they knew and trusted. Although they would and could branch out, they knew they had a safe place to fall.
Cultivate activities outside school. Alumni whose parents’ encouraged church youth group attendance, 4-H, getting and holding a part time job, or other interests away from those four walls had more confidence. Since high school was only a small part of life, its importance was lessened.
During those first few weeks of 9th grade, wait, watch, and listen. Don’t necessarily become the BFF (Best Friend Forever) of the first person who approaches. It’s good to be a friendly member of a few groups then to be pigeonholed into one.
Find people who share similar interests. Although in most schools, sports are king, drama, choir, and debating are good options. Unorganized groups of friends who enjoy the same hobbies work well too.
Don’t worry about what others do. A few, or one, good friend beats many acquaintances which is often what the popular crowd have.
Remember high school is unfair to girls. Men in training receive notoriety for what they do. Young women tend to be rated on how they look. That’s shallow and ridiculous but it is what it is. Actions and attitudes can beat that system!!! Note it and move on.
Hard times make strong people. It’s all in the attitude. We can either marinate in our miserable pasts or have them be the impetus we need to shut that door and open one to a better place. It’s our choice.
A supportive home life is vital. Whether from a single or dual parent family, alumni who knew that their folks and/or even an outsider could listen and understand made those years tolerable.
A final thought: most alpha girls and boys go on to college or a job and often do not succeed. Those who were not on the first rung of popularity have better skills for adjusting to new experiences. The anonymity of being one in a crowd of many is too much for the big dogs in the high school pack to handle.
It would be great for me to learn what your experiences have been. Please contact me any time to converse about this.
By Vivian Huschke
With balls that beep and bases that buzz, blind individuals of today are playing baseball. On Saturday, August 20, 2016, Washington State will have the first ever “Meeting of the Blinds”. We now have three official Beep Baseball teams for the Blind in the State of Washington, The Spokane Lion Pride, The Seattle South King Sluggers and the newly formed Tacoma Tide. These three teams will come together in Tacoma, Washington for the first ever Beep Baseball Tournament in the Northwest.
Beep baseball was developed in the late 1970’s by the telecom pioneers to allow individuals who are blind to be able to partake in an adapted mainstreamed team sport that many of their peers and family members played. It is played similar to softball with a few adaptations.
Beep baseball is played with a beeping ball and two bases that buzz. All members of the teams play under blindfold. With the exception of the pitcher, catcher and spotter. This is to level out the playing field, because of the varying degrees of blindness in visually impaired persons. The object of the game is for the batter, after having hit the ball, to run to the buzzing base before the outfielder’s field the ball.
The teams are visiting Wenatchee and the Tri-Cities this summer as well to play a demo game and spark an interest to get a team started in those areas. A demonstration of Beep Kickball will also be played between games. The teams are seeking new players, volunteers and sponsors. The events will commence at 11:00 AM. Save the Date! Hope to see you there! For location information and other questions, contact Fred Baker, coach of the Tacoma Tide, at (253)381-1269.
By Denise Colley
On Saturday, June 4, 2016, approximately 85 colleagues, employees, agency partners, friends, board members, blind consumers, students and family gathered to honor Dr. Dean Stenehjem for his 30 (thirty) years of service to the Washington State School for the Blind (WSSB) and blind/visually impaired students throughout the State of Washington. Dr. Stenehjem is retiring at the end of June, and a reception was held in his honor to celebrate his accomplishments and wish him well as he enters the next phase in his journey of life. The reception was held in the Fries Auditorium at the school, the weather was lovely, and the hot and cold hors d’oeuvres tasty.
Dr. Craig Meador, former WSSB Principal, and now president at the American Printing House for the Blind had flown out for the occasion, and began the formal time of sharing and well wishes. Craig shared some of the history of WSSB, specifically focusing on where the school and the services it provides were when Dean first came and how far it has come to get to where it is today. He talked about Dean’s ever expanding vision for the school, as well as the many partnerships he has developed and his work with the legislature. Craig concluded his remarks by presenting Dean with an award from APH called the Wall of Tribute. The Wall of Tribute is part of the Hall of Fame Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field which draws support from the entire field of blindness. It is housed at the American Printing House for the Blind in a portion of an over 80-year-old wing of APH’s 1883 building. The hall space is filled with special displays of artifacts, photographs, and accessible bas-relief plaques honoring the great names of the profession. The Wall of Tribute, located in the Hall of Fame, is made up of inscribed stones with accompanying braille labels placed in beautifully detailed wooden columns. New legends are inducted into the Hall of Fame each year, but personal heroes can be honored at any time by placing a stone in the Wall of Tribute bearing a personal message.
Several others spoke about collaborations formed, partnerships developed, new programs initiated, and positive working relationships maintained. They spoke about his ability to always have a handle on the pulse of the legislature. Students talked about how welcoming and important he made them feel; even knowing all students by name. In one way or another everyone touched upon the fact that, as school superintendent, Dean exemplified the mission and purpose of WSSB every day; “to provide specialized quality educational services to visually impaired and blind youth ages birth-21 within the State of Washington”, and “serve as a statewide demonstration and resource center and provide direct and indirect services to students both on campus and in the children’s local communities”.
A special time of celebration, laughter and lasting memories was had by all.
Movie Review Column
By Kevin Daniel
As a lifelong movie enthusiast and appreciator, I’m hoping to bring my perspective, insight, opinion, and recommendations on what to see and what to definitely miss to the WCB community. I want to inspire and ignite interest in theatrical offerings in the hope that readers might be compelled to go see a movie that could offer an escape, help discover a passion, thoroughly inform, or simply present a wonderful opportunity to get lost in a cinematic vortex of entertainment. My reviews will span through all genres, ratings, and categories. I will rate each movie I review on a six point “Braille Cell” style system, where “6” dots is the very best rating a reviewed movie may receive; meaning it is extremely good and recommended, and “1” dot will be the worst rating. A “1” dot rating will indicate that the movie reviewed isn’t at all recommended and should be avoided. Each article will feature recently released movies that I’ve screened. In addition, I’ll add fun facts, insightful tidbits, and general information about the featured films. I hope you’ll enjoy these articles and find my perspectives useful and yes, entertaining. My movie viewing philosophy, “In good times and in bad, happy times and sad, a great movie is always welcomed!”
Movie #1 “Me Before You” Released on June 3rd of 2016 and is rated PG-13. This simple little movie tells the story of a paralyzed former banker who meets and falls in love with “Lou Clark”, nicely played by Emilia Clarke, from the last Terminator movie. This is a love story that tackles some tough issues that are difficult to layout on film in a responsible way and still capture an audience that wishes to be entertained not beat over the head for 90 minutes about disability. However, this movie figured it out. Knowing this movie was based on a pretty popular book, and being a softy for love stories that get me to pick up a tissue box while watching, I went to see this with high expectations and expecting to show my cheeks how my eyes work when sad… Though the movie dragged in parts, missed opportunities to go a little deeper in its subject matter, and didn’t stay true to the book version, I was entertained. And yes, teared up just as I was predicting. For those of you who like love stories, I highly recommend this movie.
I give “Me Before You” 4 out of 6 braille cell dots.
Movie #2 – Money Monster Released in May of 2016, and rated R (mainly for strong language) Ok, how in the world do you get Julia Roberts and George Clooney in a big budget movie and screw it up… Well, have a poor script, bad direction, a dumb ending, and a storyline that just defies logic on how it got passed forward to Julia and George! That is how you screw up a movie in Hollywood, I guess… I will admit that I saw this after a 12 hour day on a Wednesday night much later than I typically go to the movies. But, my popcorn bucket and super giant Coke had me sugared up enough to withstand any sign of drowsiness that might attempt to spoil my mid-week movie treat. I spent most of the movie trying to figure out who it was that green-lighted this show… Yes, the acting was good. Julia and George are great actors!!! No doubt. The convoluted story of a crazy man rushing into an on-air studio to take the hip-hop dancing host hostage to get back at him and his show for promoting a stock that didn’t perform well, losing the hostage taker’s life savings. “See what I mean… just convoluted!” Once George Clooney started the dancing thing, I should have gotten up, gone to the lobby, purchase a second bucket of popcorn, and returned to my seat and thrown hands full at the screen each time the hip-hop music began. Now that would have been much more entertaining than the actual movie. Please avoid this movie!
Just to be merciful I’ll give the movie 2 out of 6 braille cell dots, one for each of the two stars I’ve enjoyed watching for years. I do this begrudgingly.
By Cindy Van Winkle
We’ve all heard the saying, “it’s all about the timing.” Recently I was reminded of how true this can be. However, the “timing” is not always going to be the “timing” we prescribe.
About two-and-a-half years ago, as then President of the Washington Council of the Blind, I was contacted by a concerned, almost distraught, father. His young adult daughter had recently and suddenly gone blind and she was very depressed and withdrawn. He wanted to find out what services were available for her. He wanted to find out some way to help her to get her life back on track. So of course I told him of the Department of Services for the Blind and the Orientation and Training Center, the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library, The Seattle Lighthouse, WCB, and anything else I could think of. In fact, he brought her to our convention in Tacoma a couple of years ago and she took advantage of the iPhone training offered. However, when I met her then, she sat timidly in a chair, speaking almost in a whisper. They did not stay very long at the convention.
Since then, her dad and I have shared information back-and-forth via an occasional email. I’ve tried to encourage him to have her join some of our forum calls, which I thought would be less intimidating for her and yet hopefully encouraging. But, sadly, it didn’t seem that any of my suggestions were taking effect.
Now let’s fast forward to one of our trainings at work I attended very recently. It was a two hour overview of the history, mission and values of The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. Any time we have a meeting like this, the tradition is to go around the table and have everyone introduce themselves. You can’t imagine the joy I felt when I heard this young lady say her name. Yes, she was sitting at the table with me. She was a new employee, here just three weeks. Throughout the meeting she asked good questions and it was obvious that she desires to someday move into a different position at the Lighthouse. Upward mobility is one of the core values that the Lighthouse has. So, employees are encouraged to do career planning if they would like to one day move up in the organization.
After the meeting, I called out her name and told her to wait there and I would be over to say hi. I was pleased when she said, “oh good!” She knew who I was though she didn’t remember us meeting previously. She seemed genuinely happy that I came over to talk with her and in fact, gave me a hug. I sat down and we chatted for about 10 minutes.
One of the things I forgot to mention is that near the beginning of our training, they asked for a volunteer to read the written history timeline of the Lighthouse, which I gladly did. Anyway, one of the first things this young lady said to me with an awe in her voice was, “I didn’t know anyone could read braille like that!” She told me how much she missed reading. She said that listening to a book just isn’t the same. So I talk to her about learning braille and taking advantage of her three hours per week paid training the Lighthouse offers blind employees. She sounded so excited to embark on learning braille.
Now the “timing” isn’t mine; it’s all hers! It’s up to her to take advantage of all the opportunities available to her. My job was to provide resources, be patient until this moment when she is ready, and to offer encouragement as she embarks on this journey. And now she can take the time she needs to do whatever she needs to do to learn, grow, and live as a person who is blind.
So you see, it truly is “all about the timing!”
How Will You Pay?How Will You Pay?
By Kim Moberg
So, let me ask you a few questions. Are you legally blind? Are you a resident of Washington State? Are you going to be attending some kind of post-secondary education (college, university) for the 2016-17 academic school year?
Did you answer YES to all three of these questions? If you did then you are one step closer to having a way to pay for some of your college needs. The Washington Council of the Blind has a scholarship program that you are eligible for if you answered YES to all of the above questions.
We are now accepting applications for the WCB Scholarship program. The deadline to have your application and all supporting documents in to the scholarship committee is August 15, 2016.
The scholarship program has awarded individuals scholarships of up-too $4000.00 in past years. Scholarship winners have used this money for things like a new computer, books, and transportation, just to name a few.
Now all you have to do is go to the WCB web page www.wcbinfo.org and follow the links to the scholarship page. Click on Scholarship and follow the links. Just a reminder if you know someone that could benefit from this scholarship please pass on this information. Remember the person need not be a WCB member in order to apply. All who are legally blind, a resident of Washington State, and are going to be pursuing a post-secondary education for the 2016-17 school year are welcome to apply! WE are now accepting applications and will be doing so until the application closing date of August 15, 2016.
Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind (GEACB)
By Chris Coulter
Greater Everett Area Council of the Blind meets at Denny’s Restaurant in Everett. The address is 132 128th Street and the meeting day and time is the second Saturday of the month between 12:30 – 3PM. We don’t have formal chapter meetings in July and August.
We are paying special attention to bringing high-quality, information-packed presentations to our members and others who choose to come and be with us.
Denise and Seth Russel were our presenters at the April meeting. They brought lots of fun and interesting talking products from the Speak to Me Catalog. At the same meeting Jim Turri, WCB’s newest board member was our guest. He talked to us about forum calls, both ACB and WCB conventions and the various opportunities for leadership training available to us both at the state and national level.
The featured speaker at our May meeting was Sarah Nagpal from Washington State Department of Transportation. Her primary involvement in working with transportation issues has to do with the Washington State ferry system, and we gave her some suggestions about ways to make the terminals more accessible. We also alerted her to some concerns in other transportation-related areas.
We are getting ready to have another summer picnic at Lundeen Park in Lake Stevens. We always have a good time there and we are pretty sure that this picnic will be no exception. Our picnic will be held in July, so it’s just in the planning stages now.
If you’re interested in attending any of our chapter events you can find our contact information on the WCB web site. We’d love to see people just come to enjoy the food, the fun and the great information.
Guide Dog Users of Washington State (GDUWS)
By Sherry Richardson, President
It’s hard to believe another Spring Fling has come and gone—and what a success! There were 21 two-legged participants, including a couple of new faces in the crowd, and almost as many four-legged participants. I bet you can guess which species behaved the most professionally!
The program began with updates from GDUI, GDUWS, and several guide dog schools via Skype. We heard from an Uber representative about their local collaboration with GDUWS and WCB members to acquaint Uber drivers with their legal obligation to provide service to persons with service animals. He was well informed, engaging and answered several questions from the group. Following this presentation, there was a panel of two guide dog handlers and two family members who discussed their experiences with bringing home a new guide dog. I think we all learned from their different perspectives.
We could not call it a Fling without some fun. Before lunch, one of our members, Josette Kernaghan, volunteered to auction off some goodies from Canada as a GDUWS fundraiser. This generous act became the impetus for an impromptu auction as winners continued auctioning off some of their winnings. GDUWS raised about $150 through this unplanned and unsolicited fundraising effort. What a fun and generous group! After lunch, we shared stories about our dogs. I’m sure our dogs wagged their tails at the tales they heard!
We ended the day with a truly lovely and moving memorial to our past beloved guides. Marlaina read the names of these guides as she rang a small bell to commemorate each one. I am sure there was not a dry eye in the room; each of our guides has a special place in our hearts and lives.
I want to say a special thanks to Marlaina Lieberg and Deb Cook-Lewis for planning an outstanding 2016 Spring Fling. I also want to thank Holly and Byron Kaczmarski for working hard throughout the day to handle the registration, the auction proceeds and many other logistical details. Many others worked behind the scenes to make this one of the best Flings ever.
Jefferson County Council of the Blind (JCCB)
By Carl Jarvis, Secretary
Spring Round Up
Our May meeting featured Frank Cuta, who informed and entertained us as he represented our WCB organization. Sometimes we here in the far reaches of the wild Olympic Peninsula can feel a bit isolated from the rest of the state. However, Frank’s stories went a long way toward making us feel a real part of WCB. Thank you Frank, for taking the time to travel to Port Townsend from far off Tri-Cities.
We sadly report the death of Rita Dinger. Rita and Richard moved to Sequim following Richard’s retirement. He was a Boeing engineer and Rita was self-employed as a CPA. Rita quickly became active as a Master Gardener in Clallam County, often lecturing to the various gardening groups. The loss of Rita also means that Richard will be unable to attend the JCCB meetings. The challenge of a blind person traveling between Sequim and Port Townsend reminds us that one of the greatest barriers faced by blind people is that of reliable public transportation.
At our April meeting we were visited by Peninsula Rehabilitation Services. A very short trip by Carl and Cathy Jarvis. Members had an up close and personal time examining some of the newer adaptive devices that assist blind people in remaining independent. The Jarvis’ said they had just completed 21 years serving the older blind and low vision people on the Olympic Peninsula.
On April 22, Peninsula Rehabilitation Services participated in the Sequim Low Vision Fair. This annual fair brings together a wide range of services for blind and low vision folks. PRS reported a steady stream of interested visitors, and during the four hour program they signed up 13 persons requesting services.
Since we missed posting an update in the last Newsline issue, we want to let everyone know that our elections produced no surprises. Sue Ammeter was re-elected as our fearless president. Ken Hanson was again voted as vice president, and treasurer and secretary once again found Cathy and Carl Jarvis holding forth.
Finally, remember, for those of you eager to visit us, we meet on the fourth Friday of each month from Noon to 1:30 P.M. at the Road House Restaurant, 2152 West Sims Way in Port Townsend.
King County Chapter (KCC)
By Linda Wickersham, President
Hello from the King County Chapter. I hope you are all staying cool on this sizzling weekend. Don’t forget to check on your elderly neighbors.
I am pleased to announce we have four new members this last year. They are Linda Crown, Shawn Henning, Naomie Harrington and Michael Vess. All four are great additions to the chapter. Shawn attended the leadership training in May. He spoke at the meeting about the training. He was very pleased with it.
We have an unofficial new member. David Egan has a new dog. I met his dog at the dog users’ Spring Fling. He is beautiful. David tells me they have bonded.
Marilyn Donnelly fell for a second time and injured her knee. We’re all looking forward to when she can come back to the meetings. Marilyn is truly missed.
Steve Fiksdal came to our April meeting and talked about all the up and coming deadlines. This was a good refresher for the chapter.
Our May speaker was Jack from Metro. He spoke about the bus changes that took place in March. He was a good speaker, however if you didn’t agree with Metro you did get a sarcastic response.
In June, Larry Watkinson, from the State Department of Transportation will be our speaker. He spoke at the Winter Board meeting and was excellent.
Tim Schneebeck is holding his annual barbecue on July 23rd. We are all looking forward to the good food and company.
We wish all of you a wonderful summer. Try to stay cool!
Peninsula Council of the Blind (PCB)
By Cindy Van Winkle, Secretary
Two of our newer members were accepted to participate in this year’s WCB Leadership Seminar. We can’t wait to see the impact of that weekend playout with J R and Kat in our chapter. We know they’ve already been running with the Activities Committee and have hosted our new Open Forum in their home, which is an opportunity to get together and just chat about anything! We’ve also had a few dinner socials held at Genuine Burgers (a place that prides themselves on all natural everything), Lin’s Teriyaki (a chapter favorite go-to), and the Sweet and Smokey Diner for some barbecue.
Our All Ears Book Club continues to meet at Subway in Silverdale on the first Thursday of each month from 4:30 to 6:00pm. There’s always at least one book to read each month and when we get together, sometimes we even talk about it. But no matter what, the conversation is lively and we have a great time!
Many of our members attended the Outback Steakhouse fundraiser of our sister chapter SKCB, and we now begin plans for our own event on October 1. So, if you’d like to come over to this side of the pond and enjoy a yummy meal for just $15 while supporting the PCB, we’d love to have you! We guarantee a good time!
Now off to plan some summer fun, and we’ll be sure to write about it in the next issue!
Pierce County Association of the Blind (PCAB)
By John McConnell, President
Hello WCB Family:
Since last edition, we have been planning for our annual summer picnic, sponsoring the Tacoma Tide Beep Ball Club, and thinking of ideas as to how to make our chapter more attractive.
Our picnic will be on July 30, Saturday at Spanaway Lake Park in Pavilion A. The cost this year is $8.00 for those who purchase reservations in advance. The price at the door will be $10.00 per person. ***No alcoholic beverages allowed***. We will have a jazz band, games, karaoke, and of course, food, food, food.
We are sponsoring the Tacoma Tide Beep Baseball Club, as well as beep kickball for visually impaired youth in our area. This should be fun for all involved.
We are constantly receiving calls, and other communication, concerning people wanting to join our chapter.
Further information concerning the picnic, and the beep ball events will be posted on our web site www.pcabinfo.org. You will find that this web site has been updated, and is very attracted for those who read text, and those who are looking for visual attractiveness.
We look forward to seeing those who can make it to our picnic, and the beep ball events.
South King Council of the Blind (SKB)
By Gaylen Floy, President
Beep Baseball season finds our members neck deep in activity. We are very excited for Meka White who was chosen to attend the ACB Convention in Minnesota. We are also pumped that new member Anmol Bhatia was part of the 2016 WCB Leadership Class.
Meka has a busy summer planned. Not only will she attend the ACB Convention in July, but she will also sing the national anthem at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup. If you go to the WCB Facebook page, you can find a video of her audition.
If you get a chance to talk with Anmol, you’ll learn he has a heart for people with disabilities who are learning our culture. Besides working at the Lighthouse, he takes part in Ski for Light and is on the Sluggers Beep Baseball team.
Other members have been taking on new challenges.
A few months ago, Marlaina Lieberg got a hearing about disability challenges with King County Council members. This resulted in a very constructive meeting regarding the King County website.
Marlaina has also been working with Bartell Drugs to get talking prescription labels. Marlaina is working with the WCB Advocacy Committee to make this service a reality.
Lanae Naugle is commuting to the Orientation and Training Center getting her Jaws and computer skills up-to-date with instructor Zach Abernathy.
Kelsi Watson is getting iPad training at SightConnection, working with Laura Rodriquez. She is now able to read email from our chapter list.
The June 4th Sluggers Poker / Bowl event was a big hit: 75 people attended. Our chapter had a bowling team comprised of Gina Allen, Kelsi Watson, and Anmol Bhatia. Evidently they couldn’t remember whose turn it was to bowl and got a serious case of the giggles. It was a good night. The best poker hand won airline tickets. We raised over $500. The Sluggers will demo beep baseball in Anchorage, Alaska June 25. The Anchorage Lions Club is sponsoring the trip. Next year we could see a beep baseball team in Alaska.
South Kitsap Council of the Blind (SKCB)
By Kim L. Moberg
By the time this article has to be on the Newsline editor’s desk South Kitsap Council of the Blind (SKCB) will have done a fund raising event at Outback Steakhouse. This chapter has been busy getting ready for this event. We did it last year and had a lot of fun, raised awareness about blind and visually impaired individuals and know that this year is going to be just as successful and fun as last year.
At our April meeting we had a visit from Sue Ammeter, WCB Board Member. She gave a very informative talk. We have several new people in our chapter so I am sure that they found what she had to say very helpful. It gave a better insight into what WCB provides to its members and how members are supported.
We are busy planning our summer fun, a picnic at the Kitsap Regional Park off Jackson in Port Orchard. It will be on July 9 from 11:00 to 3:00 PM. Everyone is welcome. If you are coming from another chapter you will need to provide your own meat to grill and also bring a side dish to share.
In March we had a most awesome speaker. It was Steve Fiksdal. He talked to us about who he is as a person. He also talked about going to the national convention. He had some interesting information to provide us, whether we had been in the organization for a long time or if this was one of our first meetings. Thank you Steve for speaking to our group.
We sold t-shirts that say South Kitsap Council of the Blind on them. They also have the braille alphabet on the shirt.
United Blind of Seattle (UBS)
By Dorene Cornwell, Secretary
United Blind of Seattle is excited to serve as host chapter for the 2016 WCB Convention and a committee is hard at work on needed tasks.
Our fundraising and social committees are working together on a walk around Green Lake with chapter members asked to seek sponsors.
Our technology committee has been experimenting with in-person meetings specifically to talk about technology. Our most recent event drew six people with a wide range of technology interests and experiences. There was all kinds of lively conversation and information-sharing and people stayed 1.5 hours past the suggested ending time.
Seattle is in the process of many big changes in transportation systems. The Sound Transit Link Light Rail opened to Husky Stadium. In conjunction with that, many bus routes have been reconfigured. Metro is also beginning a public engagement process related to the regular cycle of contracts to operate paratransit services (called ACCESS in King County). Our chapter has had one presentation by Metro staff on the bus route restructure and looks forward to a presentation about ACCESS
There is also multi-agency work on the downtown Seattle waterfront as the Alaskan Way viaduct gets replaced and people in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties will have opportunity in November to vote on Sound Transit three, the next phase expanding light rail service in the central Puget Sound. Chapters in these areas may want to consider inviting speakers from Sound Transit to talk about what the funding and constructions plans include in your areas.
United Blind of Seattle members and other WCB members have been part of a cross-disability coalition and several volunteer boards that influence these processes including the Metro Transit Advisory Commission, the Livable Communities committee of the King County Mobility Coalition, the Seattle Commission on People with Disabilities, and the Seattle Pedestrian Advisory Board.
Two members, Clara and David Aiken have moved to Missouri to live closer to family; they will be missed.
United Blind of Spokane (UBSPO)
By Debby Clark
Sweet Sounds of Summer
Here in Spokane we have bird song, children laughing, and voices of people that we love at our chapter meetings. In this eventful spring we spotlight our new member Debra Janzen. New to the blind community, this teacher, former medical technologist and master food preserver for Washington State Extension is currently reengineering her life for new hobbies and will resume her tutoring and subbing for high school.
Deborah Jenkins has become Deborah Wolfer. Congratulations! We celebrated her marriage to John at our last meeting with cake. A special celebration party will take place June 12.
Cindy Glidden was our highly qualified sendee to the leadership training. This is her glowing report: “What an amazing experience I had. I gleaned so much knowledge from being with other WCB members and to the wonderful classes and speakers that put vast prep work into them. They made such a great impression on me in so very many ways. Steve Fiksdal, Julie Brannon and Cindy Van Winkle shared presentations on traits of a leader, personalities of people and how to use these tools to understand where your leadership skills will take you for the future.” Our Cindy feels honored to have been included in moving upward and onward with WCB.
Danielle went to the GDWS Spring Fling and the WCB board meeting. She had only good and enthusiastic words of praise for this event.
Tracy had open heart surgery in May and is on the slow mend.
We emphasize family, friends, fun, and food at our meetings.
We also had interesting speakers from healthcare and legal professions at our meetings in March, April and May.
Join us the third Monday at Lilac Blind 11:00am to 1:00pm.
United Blind of the Tri-Cities (UBTC)
By Holly Kaczmarski
We members of UBTC have had an interesting quarter since the last Newsline chapter update. At our recent meeting, Frank Cuta related a complete history of the activities and growth of our local affiliate over the first 30 years of our 40 year existence. We also had a recent program on physical therapy in which a PT from a local agency came to discuss physical therapy and balance issues of our members.
We again had a successful candy sale and raised about $800 for our treasury.
With the hiring of a new director at the Edith Bishel Center, we have been increasing our presence and participation there. We now actually have one of our board members, Joy Kelley, on the EB board.
Also keeping us busy are our many activities from our hosting of a monthly technology group taught by our members. Edith Bishel is also now offering us IOS training each month which is great.
We have had an unusually productive working relationship with the cities of Kennewick and Pasco regarding the installation of audible traffic signals and this month Steffie Coleman is offering us a workshop specific on safe crossings at intersections. You may recall that our President Bernie Vinther has been struck twice now while crossing.
This month, we have been taking the posters provided to us by WTBBL to local libraries and encouraging them to put them up.
Erick Vazquez, one of our newest members, has created a great Facebook page for our affiliate.
President Bernie has made several suggestions for us to have fun at our meetings doing things such as: more outdoor activities, doing some hiking and camping and exploring, doing more outreach, and doing activities involving environmental access.
Also of interest and importance is the celebration of the 50th wedding anniversary of two of our members, Sherry and Mel Dubbin. Congratulations to them both for such a happy marriage!
One of our exciting announcements is the welcoming of two new members, Jamie Wall and Ken Sanchez. Welcome to UBTC!
Well, that’s all for now.
United Blind of Walla Walla (UBWW)
By Alco Canfield, President
Spring in Our Step
Spring arrived early in Walla Walla, and the sun put everyone in a good mood.
In March, Dan Lapparelli, the new director of the Edith Bishel Center and Sheila Ferris, rehabilitation teacher for that agency came to our meeting and spoke about their services. Dan is new to the blindness field, but very enthusiastic. He has an interest in non-profit organizations after starting one in Africa.
At our April meeting we listened to a DVD describing the Eyes for India program in India to which we previously had made a donation. The DVD was extremely inspiring and informative.
Alco Canfield briefly discussed her 14-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
On May 10th, Elwood Mabley, Ernie Jones, and Alco Canfield were interviewed by Roger Johnson at a local television station concerning the United Blind of Walla Walla. Alco’s recent trip to the Holy Land intrigued Roger, so she shared a little about that experience as well.
So, as you can see, we aren’t suffering from spring fever. See you in September.
United Blind of Whatcom County (UBWC)
By Holly Turri, President
We began a coffee bean fundraiser. We have been to one Hagens supermarket and this summer will be going to other stores in Whatcom County. Along with the candy, we include information about our chapter. $1.00 is the suggested donation.
Every six weeks, we have held our book club. Titles discussed included: Virgin River by Robyn Carr, Sister Chicks in Wooden Shoes by Gunn, and others.
We are starting our Vision series again. These programs are directed towards people with fading vision. The programs will take place in June, August, and September. Topics to be discussed are: identity theft and fraud, self-defense, and travel.
Compiled by Cindy Van Winkle
This column is presented for your information and enjoyment. Inclusion of information, products, and/or services does not constitute endorsement by the Washington Council of the Blind. If you have items for inclusion, email and put “Bits and Pieces” in the subject line.
*Accessibility Phone Numbers
Below are a list of companies and organizations raising the standard of commitment by providing dedicated lines for questions about accessibility and technical support. We hope that this will be a resource that you utilize. This is not an exhaustive list, so as you come across other resources, please send them to for inclusion.
ADA Information Line:
Air Traveler’s with Disabilities hotline:
AT&T National Center for Customers with Disabilities
Microsoft Accessibility Support:
*National Braille Press presents The Tactile Caliper
Created by Squirrel Devices
Caliper plus protective case: $18.00
Created and produced by Squirrel Devices, the Tactile Caliper eliminates the need to simplify geometry figures for instruction, improves access to geometry and other STEM subjects, and puts blind students at par with sighted peers.
The winner of NBP’s 2013 Touch of Genius Prize for Innovation, this mechanical instrument looks like a traditional Vernier Caliper. Whole inches are embossed in braille across the top of the ruler, while fractions are dynamically displayed in braille on a sliding jaw – as you move the jaw, the braille refreshes.
To learn more about this product or to order it visit www.nbp.org or
*Amazon Echo and Tap
Two of Amazon’s newest and more popular products are the Amazon Echo and its smaller, less expensive counterpart, the Amazon Tap. Both are speakers that you can use to connect to Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based services. You can stream music from iHeart radio, Spotify, Amazon Prime, and tune-in, as well as read Kindle and audio books from audible, read the news, and so much more. Both devices function as bluetooth speakers so that you can listen to music you may have on your phone from iTunes or Google Play, books from BARD, etc.
Finally, your choice of over a thousand third party skills can be chosen and you can use the Alexa app to enable them. These skills include health and nutrition information, food journaling, ordering pizza, getting an Uber, adding appointments to the Google calendar, ordering or adding items on Amazon to a shopping list, and many other things. Since all updates are made in the cloud, the devices get them instantly. For more information, go to www.amazon.com and put in Amazon Echo or Amazon Tap in the search box.
Submitted by Hayley Agers
- 6 large bell peppers, halved
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1 8oz can whole kernel corn, drained
- 1 8oz can tomato sauce
- 3/4 cup cooked rice
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 Tbsp chili sauce
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1 Tbsp butter, melted
- 3/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare peppers and place in baking dish. In a skillet, cook ground turkey and onion until meat is browned. Stir in corn, tomato sauce, rice, cheese, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, and 3/4 tsp salt…stir to combine. Fill pepper halves with meat mixture and set aside. Combine bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle on top of each pepper half. Bake uncovered about 35 minutes.
Cucumber, Honey Dew Salad with Feta
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp poppy seeds, optional
- 1 medium honey dew melon, seeded and chopped (about 5 cups)
- 1 English cucumber, unpeeled and chopped (2 cups)
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion, briefly rinsed in cold water and patted dry
- 3 Tbsp fresh dill weed
- 4oz feta cheese, crumbled
In a large bowl, combine; lemon juice, salt, pepper, poppy seeds, olive oil and honey. Use a whisk to be sure all ingredients are fully incorporated. Add in melon, onion, cucumber, and dill. Just before serving, gently mix in the feta cheese.
Can be made up to 8 hours ahead. Be sure to cover with press and seal wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill. Or if serving immediately, let stand 20 minutes before serving. Don’t forget, do not add feta until just before serving.
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
For the base:
- Butter, for greasing
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 9 graham crackers
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 2 lemons, zested and juiced
- About 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
For the filling:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
For the base:
Grease the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with butter. Then place parchment paper over the top, pressing down at the corners. In a food processor, process the sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers until you have the texture of bread crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate. Pour into the lined baking pan and gently pat down with the base of a glass. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes until golden. When done set aside to cool.
For the filling:
Add cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar to the food processor and mix until well combined. It should have a smooth consistency. Pour onto the cooled base and then cover with blueberries. They will sink slightly but should still be half exposed — as the cake bakes they will sink a little more and break down.
Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the center only slightly jiggles. Remove from the oven and cool completely before refrigerating for at least 3 hours. Once set, remove from pan using the parchment lining and slice into 10 rectangular bars. Dust with powdered sugar.
Compiled by Cindy Van Winkle
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to, and celebrate with, the following WCB members:
Danette Dixon (GEACB) on graduating with her new partner Mayor a male black lab from Guide Dogs for the Blind.
Sherry and Melvin Dubbin (UBTC) on the special occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary!
Deborah Jenkins (UBSPO) on her recent marriage to John Wolfer.
Deb Lewis (GDUWS) on being chosen as one of eight Leadership Fellows chosen by ACB to attend this year’s ACB Conference and Convention in Minneapolis.
Gina Ontiveros (YVCB) on being selected as this year’s WCB first timer to attend the ACB Conference and Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Sarah Schweizer (PCB) on receiving her new guide, Chandler, a handsome male German Shepherd from The Seeing Eye.
Cindy Van Winkle (PCB) on her new position with The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. as their Event Coordinator.
Meka White (SKB) on being chosen as one of eight Leadership Fellows chosen by ACB to attend this year’s Conference and Convention in Minneapolis.
If you have something for consideration of inclusion for future Hats Off articles, please send to with “Hats Off” in the subject-line.
- 3: Opening Session of the ACB Conference and Convention, Minneapolis, MN.
- 16: WCB at the Mariner’s game, 1 p.m.
- 4: President’s call, 8:00 pm
- 9: Technology Forum, 7 p.m.
- 14: Deadline to make lunch reservations for upcoming WCB Board Meeting,
- 15: Deadline to submit scholarship application packet.
- 16: Book Club Forum, 7 p.m.
- 20: WCB Summer Board Meeting, 10:00 am-3:00 pm, Washington Talking Book & Braille Library
- 22: Diabetic Forum, 7 p.m.
- 31: Deadline to submit letters of Application for the First-Timer Scholarships to attend the state convention
- 2: Department of Services for the Blind Rehabilitation Council Meeting, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced
- 6: Career Forum, 8 p.m.
- 10: Newsline Submission Deadline
- 12: Call in day for convention free room, (800)255-1147 (press 0), 9:00 am -noon
- 13: Technology Forum, 7 p.m.
- 16: Washington State School for the Blind Board of Trustees meeting, 8:00 a.m., Old Main Building Conference Room
- 20: Book Club Forum, 7 p.m.
- 23-25: WCB booth at the Puyallup Fair
- 26: Diabetic Forum, 7 p.m.
- 4: Career Forum, 8 p.m.
- 6: President’s call, 8:00 pm
- 11: Technology Forum, 7 p.m.
- 15: Deadline for preregistering for convention and making hotel reservations.
- 18: Book Club Forum, 7 p.m.
- 24: Diabetic Forum, 7 p.m.
- 1: Career Forum, 8 p.m.
- 3-5: WCB Annual Convention, Seattle Airport Marriott
- 8: Technology Forum, 7 p.m.
- 15: Book Club Forum, 7 p.m.
- 21: Diabetic Forum, 7 p.m.
- 1: President’s call, 8:00 pm
- 2: Department of Services for the Blind State Rehabilitation Council meeting, 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced
- 6: Career Forum, 8 p.m.
- 10: Newsline Submission Deadline
- 13: Technology Forum, 7 p.m.
- 20: Book Club Forum, 7 p.m.
- 26: Diabetic Forum, 7 p.m.
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To be considered for inclusion in the fall issue, article submissions and other information for publication must be received by September 10, 2016. Articles should be sent as a Word document and should not exceed 750 words, while chapter updates should be no more than 350 words. Contributions may be edited for clarity and space considerations. Email to .
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